Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game, a novel written by Orson Scott Card, Follows the story of a young genius. The story is set in a future time after an alien invasion by the ‘Buggers.’ Ender Wiggen, the main protagonist, is born as a ‘third’ which means he receives ridicule from his pairs for being a third born child. This is because on Earth there is law against having more than two children. Ender is chosen to be  a part of a program in which they training up military leaders from a very young age. Ender is chosen not just to be a leader, but to be the general of the inter-planetary fleet, not that he knows it yet. This program is put in place so that humans could take the fight to the buggers, instead of waiting for their 3rd invasion. Most of the book is set in a space station orbiting Earth which is called ‘Battle School.’ The school is centred around a game called the battle room. This is a null-gravity game designed to allow the children gain leadership skills leading armies of 40 students. Sufficient to say that Ender exceeds expectations…

Ender faces trials in the form of bullies in this novel. His older brother Peter torments Ender as he is jealous that Ender keeps his monitor longer. The monitor is how the teachers of the battle school see if the child is right for the program; the monitor lets them see through their eyes and listen through their ears. Peter liked to play a game called Buggers and Astronauts which would involve Ender being a bugger with Peter being the astronaut. The astronaut would be allowed to harm the bugger in any way he pleased, because the buggers were the bad guys. The only one to break these fights was Ender’s older sister Valentine, “‘I’ll tell,’ Valentine said from the doorway.” Ender had to face two other bullies in the text, Stilson and Bonzo. Stilson he faught on Earth because he was jealous of Ender’s genius. Bonzo he faught on the battle school space station for the same reason. They both came at Ender with a gang, but Ender called them out for fighting one on one. Ender won both fights against bigger opponents by outsmarting them. Ender’s struggle relates to the real world as there are always people who feel like they are above others. No matter where you are on the world timeline there have always been bullies. There will never stop being bullies as there’s always things that people will be jealous about; people will always have things going on in their lives, which they take out on others as a form of catharsis. I have had tormentors in my life before, but I usually find a way to make it right with whoever is displeased with me. Either that or I’ve just ignored them till they got bored, it’s quite funny watching people struggle when they have no power over you. Never have I had anything as severe as Enders’ situations, so I’m not sure how I would act if I found myself in his position. The teachers didn’t help Ender with the issues they let him fight his battles himself. “He can never come to believe that anybody will ever help him out, ever.  If he once thinks there’s an easy way out, he’s wrecked.” Letting Ender fight the battle’s himself stopped the bullies from tormenting him, if the teachers stepped in he might never have reached his full potential. Teachers may be able to cause a temporary end to a fight, but they cannot take away the reason for the bullying.  In my opinion teacher intervention may even make bullying situations worse, as it can give the bully more ways to poke fun. However, if the bullying is a physical thing which maybe be dangerous to the person getting bullied something will have to be done. In this case the two parties will have to be removed from each other, depending on the severity. By removed I mean moved class, moved schools or even moved towns anything to stop them interacting. 

All through Ender’s journey he has expectations put on him to succeed. The first expectation, which was placed upon him as a 6 year old, before he has done anything spectacular, was the biggest. “I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.” The expectation was that he would be the one to lead the interplanetary fleet; he would be the one to take the fight to the buggers. International Fleet (I.F) leaders were putting all the fate of the human race onto a child, not even knowing what his capabilities would turn out to be. The next expectations were when he was promoted to be a commander in battle school. Since Ender was the one to become ‘the one,’ he was promoted much earlier than the rest of his year group (age 9 when usually and learns how to command the fleet. He has a lot more pressure on him during this time then he knows at the time. He is not told that the simulations used for training are actually ‘the real deal’ and that he is fighting the battles in real life. All these expectations have a negative effect on Enders state of mind. They put a constant burden on his back, this makes him want to give up and also pushes him to fatigue at multiple points. One would argue that the pressure placed on him brought out the best and brightest in him, which I think is true. However, Ender’s brilliance and fulfillment of the expectations came at a cost to his social life. He even loses all his friendships, to just being their commanding officer. I can relate to the pressure of fulfilling expectations, though the expectations are usually from myself. I have been taught that hard work will get me the where I want to be whether it be in school or sport, or music. There have been many times when I have had to turned down my friends for a chance to hangout, preferring to complete a project. However brainy Ender was, humans still need to interact with each other; interaction needs to be part of life.

Another challenge Ender faces, is that he doesn’t get to make many friends or the moment he does he is moved and loses them. This is due to the fact that Ender is being isolated by the battle school coordinators in an effort to bring out his creativity. “Graff had isolated Ender to make him struggle. To make him prove, not that he was competent, but that he was far better than everyone else.” They first isolated Ender by making everyone dislike him, then he had to win their appreciation by being the best. When he moved to command school they isolated him in a different way, “this time not by setting the other students into hating him, but rather by giving them no opportunity to become friends.” Ender never saw a face twice, never had the same teacher or student helping him. This made Ender ‘withdraw to his studies’ learning quickly and thoroughly, exactly what was expected. I can’t imagine the toll which the loneliness would have put on Ender; I don’t think it is good for anythe best. When he moved to command school they isolated him in a different way, “this time not by setting the other students into hating him, but rather by giving them no opportunity to become friends.” Ender never saw a face twice, never had the same teacher or student helping him. This made Ender ‘withdraw to his studies’ learning quickly and thoroughly, exactly what was expected. I can’t imagine the toll which the loneliness would have put on Ender; I don’t think it is good for anyone to be separated from other humans the way Ender was.  Loneliness can lead to social and communication struggles in one’s life. Loneliness for Ender has the effect that makes him very submissive to people’s manipulation. I do believe, however, that isolating him brought out his highest capabilities, as he had nothing to distract him from his study. In the 1600’s Isaac Newton wrote all the modern day laws of physics and calculus while being isolated in his home, during the days of the bubonic plague. I know that collaboration with our pairs does induce creativity, but I don’t believe it beats the creativity that can spout from having a good ‘ol’ think. Enders isolation reminds me of ‘The Maze Runner’ a book written by James Dashner. In this book a bunch of teenage boys are isolated in a giant maze and have to figure a way out. This is so they can measure their brain activity to find a cure to disease. Isolation can bring out our brains’ best capabilities, but it will never help us to develop socially. I could come up with the most brilliant physics discovery, but if I don’t know how to make friends and communicate, what’s the point.

Significance of books in the Book Theif

The Gravedigger’s Handbook:
– It marked the begginning of Liesel’s book stealing carrier. This is important because the first time she stole a book wasn’t bad for her, it was more of a positive effect. This meant that stealing books was not a bad thing in her life and it lead to more stealing further down the track.
– This book was important because it was the key to her past. Everything before her stealing this book is locked up now inside this book. This could make this book a form of catharsis for her, that whenever she is feeling things she could get rid of the emotions by reading this book.
– This book is also important because it sparked her love for reading and was the book through which she learned to read.

The Shoulder Shrug:
– This book is important as it connects the mayors wife and Liesel. Frau Hermann sees Liesel steal the book and doesn’t think of a rebellious child but one that loves reading. So, when Liesel arrives at the Hermanns’, she invites Liesel in to her library. This is a connection which lasts through the whole book.
– This book also represents a rebellion in Liesel against the Nazi party. She doesn’t know why they are burning books because for her books are all positive things.

The Dream Carrier:
– This is a book which Liesel stole to read to Max when he is in a deep sleep, to try and wake him up. This is important because it shows how their relationship has grown. It was first that Liesel was scared of this strange man who came in the middle of the night, but soon they shared their dreams and became great friends. Now Liesel is scared that Max may die so tries to wake him up with this book.
– The story is about an abandoned child which relates to both Max and Liesel as they are both abandoned now, without parents. Though, Hans and Rosa become both of their ‘parents.’ This is important because it brings Max and Liesel closer so that they become not just friends but a brother, sister relationship.

Mein Kampf:
– This book is important as it is Max’s saviour. It is used as a camouflage for his journey to Himmel street. The Germans would think that he was just another German making his way.
– This book is important because it connects Max and Hans to each other. This book told Max that Hans was willing to help him as it contained a map and a key for their house.

Books in the Book Thief

The Grave Digger’s Handbook:
This book was picked up by Liesel from the burial site of her brother. It was dropped by a gravedigger-in-training. The Grave Digger’s Handbook represents Liesel’s last connection to her brother. It is also the book which taught her to read and sparked her interest in books. When Hans finds out Liesel can’t read, he starts midnight reading classes, reading The Grave Digger’s Handbook. This book also represents her last connection to her old life before the train ride, it is the last connection to her past.

The Shoulder Shrug:
This is the book which Liesel rescued from the burning of the bonfires. It was deemed burnable because it had a Jew protagonist. This may be the reason Liesel was so accepting towards max when he arrived. She took the book from the fire fully understanding the consequences of being caught. She took the book home in her jacket with it still burning which means she cared more about the words which she would read then the burns she would receive. This book represents rebellion against the Nazi rampage against books. They wanted to get rid of anything that didn’t relate to Germany being superior and they burned any reference to Jewish Germans. Connects her to Frau Hermann as she sees Liesel taking the book from the fire.

The Dream Carrier:
This is the first book which Liesel steals from Frau Hermann. After Liesel is given a note from Frau Hermann saying they are sorry they can no longer pay to have their washing done, Frau Hermann gives Liesel this book as a token. Liesel doesn’t want the book because she is so angry at them for cancelling Mama’s last job. She doesn’t want it as a gift she does, however, want to read the book so she decided to steal it. This is her way at getting back at Frau Hermann for cancelling the job, another rebellion. She also wants to be in that library again, but she can’t go in the way offered by Frau Hermann. This is also the book which Liesel read to Max whilst he was sick.

A Song in the Dark:
This is the book which Liesel read during the bombings. When Liesel started reading she brought peace to the shelter. Everyone stopped crying, talking, worrying and just listened. This book became to her what his accordion was to Hans Hubermann, her power to inspire people. Through her reading, people saw how words were destined to be Liesel’s power. It’s fitting that the book was named ‘A song in the dark’ because reading this book was Liesel’s song,  her song in the dark of the bomb shelter. “Out of respect, the adults kept everyone quiet, and Liesel finished chapter one of The Whistler.”

The Standover Man:
This is the book which Max gives Liesel as a late birthday present. He paints over pages of Mein Kampf to write and illustrate it. The book talks about all the people Max has had standing over him in his life, telling him what he should do, where he should go. They have all been bad standover men but “the best standover man I’ve ever known is not a man at all…” Max was scared of all the standover men before Liesel, or when he was hiding he was scared to sleep as he didn’t know who would be standing over him when he woke up. When he woke from sleeping for 3 days, after finding the hubermann’s, he didn’t find a man standing over him but young Liesel. The book shares his fears but also his story of becoming friends with Liesel.

Mein Kampf:
This book was Max’s saviour from getting caught on his way to Himmel street. He uses it to hide the key to the hubermann’s and as a camouflage so people would not think the he was a jew. Despite being his greatest enemy, hitler’s, biography probably talking about the aryan race, ridiculing Jewish people and culture it was used by him to escape the regime. Liesel asks Max if the book is good, “It’s the best book ever, it saved my life.” Max eventually rips pages out of the book, paints them white and writes the Standover Man as a late birthday present for Liesel. So the pages brought joy to a young girl, saved a Jews life and were meant to be propaganda against the Jews.

Characterisation in the book thief


Hans Hubermann is presented from the start as a kind, father like character. When Liesel won’t come out of the car when her mother first give her away, who was there to soothe her out: Hans. When Liesel starts having nightmares Hans is there to be her friend. “Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man’s gentleness.” Hans and Liesel become good friends because of how warm and kind Hans is. Liesel is a significant event in Hans’ life, it might be a way for him to try again in raising children as he might think he failed with his son. His son ridicules him for not joining the Nazi party, “It’s pathetic — how a man can stand by and do nothing as a whole nation cleans out the garbage and makes itself great.” Hans doesn’t join the nazi party because he doesn’t see anything wrong with the Jews. He thinks others are the pathetic ones for entirely disregarding citizens who have been living in their country for years. Markus put Hans in the book to help Liesel’s character mature, she becomes the thing he loves most and he, hers.


Liesel is 9 years old at the beginning of the book and has just lost her mother and brother. Therefore she is portrayed as a scared girl who is small in a large world. Liesel doesn’t know why her mother abandoned her but she decides that she wants to find her again someday. Her brother’s death effects Liesel quite deeply and she has nightmares all through the book. This is the first thing that connects her to Hans Hubermann, her adopted father. Hans starts coming in to comfort her when she has the nightmares. These times turn into midnight reading class when Hans realises Liesel can’t read. Liesel’s inability to read becomes a source of ridicule from her school-mates. The word communist turns up a few times in Liesel’s life: she hears people saying that her mother was a communist, when they are burning books on Hitlers birthday the guy speaking talks about communists being the enemy. Liesel’s book thievery began after her brother died one of the grave diggers dropped his manual. Liesel took the book as a reminder to herself of her brother when she lost him. She stole her second book rescuing it from the fires of the book burning. A big influence on her life was Rudy steiner.


Rudy was included in the book thief by Markus as a sort of alter ego to Liesel to help her grow. Rudy is the same age as Liesel but he is a very confident outspoken boy, the opposite if Liesel at the start of the book. He becomes Liesel’s only friend through persistence as she is very closed towards him. He brings her out of her shell so to speak. Rudy is known around the neighbourhood because of ‘The Jessie Owens incident.’ “Everyone in his family was crowded together in their living room… He pulled some charcoal from the stove… ‘Now,’ he smiled. He was ready.” Rudy idolised Jessie Owens, an afro-American athlete who competed in the 1936 olympics and won 4 gold medals. Rudy doused himself in charcoal to be black and reenacted the scene of Jessie winning the 100 meters to himself. Rudy and Liesel were complimentary; they brought out the best in each other. Rudy increased Liesel’s urge to steal and vice versa. Rudy only stole to quench his never failing hunger. Rudy judgement on a lot of things were based on whether or not he would be less hungry by the end of the task.


Rosa Hubermann is a stern, abusive lady when we first meet her. She likes to boss around Hans and Liesel and to address them as “Saumensch.” She has an arch nemesis who lives across the street, Frau Holtzapfel. Frau Holtzapfel spits on Rosa’s door every time she comes past and Rosa goes to the front door and yells extremities at her. We only see Rosa’s soft side when Max turns up on the scene. We think Rosa knows nothing about the idea of Max turning up when he does, but she takes it in her stride and only complains as a joke about having to feed another mouth. When Max gets sick Rosa looks after to him really well saying, “I didn’t take this man into my house to watch him die. Understand?” Rosa is determined not to let max die, she is also scared at the thought of what they will have to do with him if he does die. We know rosa has a heart, and a big one at that, when she comes to school to tell Liesel that Max has woken up. Also when Hans is drafted to the army Liesel spots her clutching his accordian, she misses him so deeply despite not saying so.


Max is a German Jew hiding from the Nazi party. When we first meet Max he is being hidden in his friends basement feeling guilty for leaving behind his mother and family to save himself. He and his friend are waiting to hear from Hans Hubermann who is their last hope to save Max from being ‘Taken Away.’ Max becomes Liesel’s second friend and a mentor. He is a very patient man to be able to live for months in a hole without seeing the outside world. The first time he did see the world during his stay with the Hubermann’s was during an air raid when everyone was down in their bunkers.”When everything was quiet, I went up to the corridor and the curtain in the living was open just a crack … I could see outside.” Max leaves the Hubermann’s as Hans fears that the police would come round. Max turns up later during the book when Liesel spots him in the crowd of parading Jews. He also turns up at the end of the book when the war is over he is let free from the concentration camp and comes back to Molching to find Liesel.

Additional Colour References

A Portrait of Pfiffikus

He was a delicate frame.
He was white hair.
He was a black raincoat,
brown pants, decomposing
shoes, and a mouth – and
what a mouth it was.

I find it very interesting how death describe Pfiffikus. Death doesn’t describe his clothes as being a colour, he describes him as being a colour and wearing clothes. This shows how death sees the colours first then the humans saying that Pfiffikus was a colour.

The Prologue: Colour Imagery

What do EACH of these colours represent in these pages? What do they show is taking place? What atmosphere or feeling is created around the characters
and events through this colour imagery? What do the colours make you
think of?

White: This represents death’s first victim in the book thief and the environment during. The colour white was for the snow he saw everywhere as he took the soul, “I felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Trees wore blankets of ice.” Death saw white everywhere and in everything as he took the soul of Liesel’s brother. White and the snow became a symbol for Liesel’s brother’s death to Liesel herself as well. “Quote”

Black: Represents the colour of the sky during a night bombing raid on himmel street, when death came slightly early to take a mans soul. This is direct contrast to the white environment but nothing has changed there is still someone dying, except that the person dying doesn’t relate to Liesel. “Next is signature black, to show the poles of my versatility, if you like. It was the darkest moment before dawn.” This shows that death can come at any time any place, when its your time you can’t escape it. It’s interesting how he says it’s his ‘signature black,’ to say how most people relate him to dark and night. The picture of the grim reaper in a black robe and stuff.

Red: This represents the blood spilled by the bombs dropped on Himmel Street. Not necessarily the literal blood spilled, but the deaths spilled all down the street. Everyone but Liesel. “The streets were ruptured veins,” Death describes the street as vein itself burst and destroyed by the bombs, bleeding rubble.

The colours don’t really provide an atmosphere as much as they do the setting for me.


Question 2:

The blinding white during WWII maybe a reference to the weapons used. The guns provided thousands of flashes as they shoot. Imagine watching a kilometer long trench of soldiers all firing their weapons the would be blinding. The black may be a reference to the constant promise of death hanging over all the soldiers at all times. They are always at threat of being killed. The white could also reference the insanely cold conditions which the soldiers faced and many died to. Red represents death of course, the gallons of blood spilled because of nazi germany’s lust for dominion. It represents the over 60 millions deaths during WWII.

Question 3:

Black reference where max is hiding waiting to see if he can stay with the Hubermanns. “A few hundred miles north-west in Stuttgart, far from book thieves, mayor’s wives and Himmel Street, a man was sitting in the dark…It’s harder to find a Jew in the dark.” This is another reference to black in the text where max was hiding from the nazi party to not be ‘taken away.’ The black represents anxiety of waiting to see what will come thought the door, life or death; friends or Nazi’s. It reminds me of Schrodinger’s theorem how both outcomes are very real possibilities.

White reference of Frau Hermann “Chalky hand and wrist…she reached out, cold-fingered….long, light eyelashes.” Frau Hermann’s son froze to death in the war so she conditions herself to those temperatures in her library. She leaves her window open to let in the cold as a form of catharsis. She tries to release her feelings or get rid of her grief by putting herself through what her son faced. She was white all through: her skin and herself on the inside. She was blank to the world like paper.

“And now, we say goodbye, to this rubbish, this poison.” Red reference when the German’s were burning books on Hitler’s birthday. The German’s burnt the books to rid their library’s of anything that said they weren’t superior. They also burnt anything relating to German-Jews. The irony is by the end of the war they were burning real Humans.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

“The Book Thief” is a cleverly written novel masterminded by Markus Zusak. It is set in Nazi Germany during the second world war in a town called Molching. The Novel follows a young girl, Liesel Meminger, who is given to a foster home as her mother cannot look after her. She is given to the home of Hans and Rosa Hubermann who quickly become known as Papa and Mama. Papa is a big man with soothing, silver eyes who, through his accordion and cigarette rolling, brings Liesel to home on Himmel street. Mama is a cupboard-shaped women who loved dishing watschen and mean words. She meets her best friend Rudy: a permanently hungry boy with ‘lemon’ coloured hair, who stirred Liesel’s desire to steal.

The first aspect of ‘The Book Thief, to bring to attention is probably the most important to Liesel: Hans Hubermann. When Liesel first comes to Himmel street she has just seen her brother die and her mother has abandoned her. Taking this into consideration, it’s understandable that she doesn’t want to get out of the car. Hans is the man who eventually gets her out. When Liesel starts having nightmares, Hans is the one there every night to soothe her. “Trust was accumulated quickly, due primarily to the brute strength of the man’s gentleness” When it’s ‘come to light’ that she doesn’t know how to read Hans turns Liesel’s routine nightmare into a time of learning. Papa taught Liesel to read and eventually to write and may have even sparked Liesel’s love for books. Liesel came to relish the ‘midnight class’ and her capability skyrocketed. I am so lucky to have . The best part of Papa, however, was his accordion playing. “I often look at his fingers and face when he plays. The accordion breathes.” Liesel loved when Papa played the accordion because she could just stop and listen and enjoy. “No one can play like you.” Papa wasn’t any ordinary musician, Liesel could feel the music; Papa didn’t have do be a good musician it was the vibes/feel of happiness that came through his playing. I can relate to Liesel’s love for music in this way. I am a musician and love to get into the playing of the music, but i like to sit down and listen to other peoples creations. I like to sit and feel the music, what type of music it is sad/happy. There are some musicians that could probably communicate entirely through music if they wanted.

An aspect of the book thief which I quite liked was how the Hubermann’s were not part of the Nazi party until deep into the war. I liked this because it showed how not all German’s were for the Nazi party and for the horrible things done to the Jews. Many of them would have even had friends which were Jews. Hans Hubermann did and that is why Max Vandenburg turned up on their doorstep one night. Max becomes a great mentor and friend for Liesel. Max is stuck in inside hiding for months as, if he was seen by anyone, the Hubermann’s would be ‘taken away.’ Since Max doesn’t get to see what the day looks like he asks Liesel to describe it for him everyday when she comes home. “The sky is blue today, Max, and there is a big long cloud, and it’s stretched out, like a rope. At the end of it the sun is like a yellow hole…” Max paints this image of the wall of the basement with two figures, Max and Liesel, walking along it. Liesel finds it her responsibility to look after max and keep him entertained. So, when Max gets he sleeps in her room and Liesel reads to him everyday. She even finds 13 presents for max whilst he’s asleep, to cheer him when he wakes. Having Max in her living with her teaches Liesel how the Fuhrers radical plan to destroy a race is idiotic. She wonders why people hate the Jews as  the one she knows is so nice. I like how Mark Zusak shows that not all German’s blindly followed the Fuhrer and that some were against his plans. We are lucky living in new Zealand as we get free speech so if we don’t agree with something we can speak out about it. The problem with Nazi Germany was that if you weren’t part of the party no one wanted to associate with you so you would lose work and money. If you weren’t part of the party you would also be bullied into joining it. So it would take a lot of courage to hide a jew and I admire that.

The Book Thief – In Depth Tinking

“As is often the case with humans, when I read about them in the book thief’s words, I pitied them, though not as much as I felt for the ones I scooped up from various camps in the time.” This quote tells us a lot about how death feels about humans and about taking their lives. When reading Leisels words about their time in the bomb raid shelters death says he pitied them. The were sitting in the dark, waiting for death and he pitied them for not just being able to live. Not as much as he pitied the Jews being lead to their deaths in the concentration camps. This shows that death cares how people die and that he doesn’t think some of the ways people die are fair or right. But, death doesn’t have the power to change this as he is only the “messenger” so all he can do is pity.

The Pirates of Somalia – Tom Doyle

“The Pirates of Somalia” is a short story from Tom Doyle’s book “Killing Christians.” It is based on truth and shares the story of Azzam, a Muslim turned Christian convert. Azzam is the son of a Somali pirate-warlord and they live in the heart of Muslim Somalia. This is a place where the law is written by the pirates and Christianity is punishable by death. Azzam begins having visions of a man named Jesus and seeks guidance from the town’s spiritual leader. He is ridiculed and told that the visions he sees are from the devil. During one of his visions he asks his mother if she sees the cross placed on his bed, but she has no idea what he’s talking about. Azzam’s brother watches the exchange and runs off to tell their father. “Leave, son, and don’t come back,” Azzam’s mother sends him away for if his father found him he would be beaten of even killed.

This short story really jerked my emotions, especially when Azzam receives an unexpected package from his father. “Nothing he had imagined prepared Azzam for the contents,” nothing had prepared me either. The package contained the cut up remains of Azzam’s mother. This made me realize what a bubble we live in, in the western world, as my brain cannot even comprehend how cruel a person would have to be to do this too their son. I guess this is because of the background i have been brought up in. I live in a country/ culture where it is completely unacceptable, and unlawful for murder. Azzam, however, has grown up in a cruel place with cruel people and to prosper one must do cruel things. “Have you finally killed someone?” This is a question asked to Azzam by his mother when she smells blood in his room. This shows how socially acceptable murder is in their culture. Azzam’s father would have grown up in the same conditions and this was an all-natural response from him to send a message to his ‘spiritually deviant’ son. This culture seems so beyond belief to me because the possibilities of my mother being murdered are so slim, i needn’t even think about it.

But, the most heart wrenching thing comes a few pages down. This is when Azzam confronts Yasin and Mahdi, his mother’s killers, when he spots them walking through his village one day. They are expecting Azzam to attack them as with the retaliation culture of Somalia, but are completely taken aback when he tells them “I’ve come to forgive you.” He forgives his mother’s murderers! That’s insane! Yasin and Mahdi have grown up in the same culture as Azzam, therefore they know that if they did not follow orders they would probably be killed as well. “We didn’t want to do it, but your father ordered us.” Azzam realises that as much as they didn’t want to do it they didn’t have a choice, so he chooses to forgive them. Yasin and Mahdi are so taken aback by this act of love that they become Christians themselves.  They have never known love as vast as this in their live’s, that they know this must be a God worth believing in. I have been brought up as a Christian and it is so encouraging to see God using discrepancies to bring more people to Christ. I recently went to an Easter camp in Christchurch and the theme of the camp was that God brings good out of bad. They had speakers which shared their stories of how they were abused as children and how negatively that effected their lives. Once they were saved, however, God flipped their lives around and they now guide and help people under the same circumstances. It is so cool hearing these stories as you know that whatever trials you are facing in your life God is going to bring something good from it, ‘Beauty from the Ashes.’ This is especially exciting for heavily cruel parts of the world such as Somalia, where Christianity is banned, as they so badly need God’s love and goodness.

Azzam’s story reminds me of my auntie who lives in India. She works with a freedom business called ‘Freeset.’ Freeset frees women from the Indian sex trade, and gives them real jobs within the business. Jobs include sowing tote bags, scarves and t-shirts. The cruelness in India is women are being lured away from their villages and sold into slavery in the sex trade. What the Freeset workers do is go out to the streets of the red light districts to show love and make friends with the enslaved women. They tell the women about the joy of working for Freeset and most of them take the opportunity to leave their old lives behind. This reminds me of Azzam’s story as Freeset, just like Azzam, are showing love to people who have never been given any. Freeset is founded by Christians and God works through the employees to bring people people to better lives. This is as God worked through Azzam to show Muslims a better way to live through a loving God.

Wilfred Owen – Writing

“Men marched asleep” – From dulce et decorum est and “Slowly our ghosts drag home” – From Exposure. Hyperbole and metaphor to show how extremely exhausted the men are. Wilfreds poems are a sort of antiwar, so the message conveyed is that men cannot function porperly when they are ghosts of themselves they need

p2- terrible conditions, exposure is purely based around the terrible weather conditions which the soldiers faced. Saying if the war, bullets, didnt kill them than the conditions would. “Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us…” personification.

do we say i or the reader

Wilfred Owen uses language features, in his poems “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Exposure,” to protest against the conditions which soldiers faced in war. “We cursed through the sludge,” Owen uses an unusual verb ‘cursed’ to show how the soldiers thoughts on the mud. Sludge was the bane of many problems that soldiers faced. It would get into their sleeping bags, the boots and socks leading to trench foot. This quote gives the reader an image of soldiers struggling to walk through thick mud, swearing understandably.

p3- “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle” Passing bells reference the bells rung to signal a death or funeral. The soldiers don’t get a bell, only the rifles being fired upon them. Message war should not be glorified

Wilfred Owen in his poems “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and “Dulce et Decorum Est” uses language features to display the message that war should not be glorified. “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle.” Wilfred uses two language features in this quote from “Anthem for Doomed Youth.” He asks a rhetorical question “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” Passing-bells reference the bells which are rung outside a church when there has been a death or funeral. Wilfred is wondering where are these bells? The soldiers do not get such a privilege as to have their deaths marked by bells. The second language feature is alliteration of “the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle.” Wilfred answers his own question saying no they don’t get passing-bells, only the rattle of rifles to mark their death. This adds to the idea of soldiers only being seen as cattle off to the slaughter, they aren’t even acknowledged enough for the churches to ring their bells. “The old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” In English this says, “the old Lie: It is sweet and fitting to die for ones country.” Wilfred is using oxymoron  that if you had experienced the horrors of war which these soldiers have faced, you would not believe this to be true. This is why he calls it ‘the old lie,’ as he has seen people dying in horrific ways, he knows there is no honour in dying this way.



Wilfred Owen uses language features, in his poems “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Exposure,” to protest against the conditions which soldiers faced in war. “We cursed through the sludge,” gives the reader an image of soldiers struggling to walk through thick mud, swearing consistently. Owen uses an unusual verb ‘cursed’ to show how the soldiers despise the war conditions. Sludge was the bane of many problems that soldiers faced; mud would get into their sleeping bags, boots and socks leading to trench foot and hypothermia. This makes it understandable for soldiers to be cursing the sludge after months of enduring its labours. “Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us.” Wilfred personifies the wind in saying that it was so cold it was as if it was stabbing the soldiers with knives. This makes it seem as if the wind is an enemy of it’s own,  Even when the soldiers weren’t being fired upon, they were still ‘at the mercy’ of the weather. “The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow…” Wilfred uses emotive language to provoke feelings of misery inside the reader. This tells the reader that the weather conditions were bad for the soldiers’ mental health. The dreary weather has taken such a toll on the soldiers, that even dawn doesn’t bring them happiness. Wilfred actually believes that bullets of war are “Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow.”


In the poems “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “Exposure” Wilfred Owen uses language features to convey the idea of the exhaustion of war. The soldiers faced some horrific things at war that put immense stress on the body. “Men marched asleep,” this is a metaphor from “Dulce et Decorum Est,” Owen is saying that the men were so exhausted from war that they were walking, talking, killing as if in their sleep. The soldiers being in this state would not feel as if their actions were their own; this may have made them kill without instinct or made them scared for their lives as their functions wouldn’t work properly. Owen shares that they didn’t feel like they were part of their own body’s in exposure, “Slowly our ghosts drag home.” This use of hyperbole exaggerates how tired they were, they were hollow not even inside themselves. It gives the reader an image of the soldiers’ ghosts slowly dragging their bodies behind them, as they have collapsed. This shows the immense spirit in which these soldiers had, despite their bodies being utterly broken. The message Wilfred Owen wanted to portray through these exhausted images is that the soldiers were used to the point of which they “die as cattle” heading to the slaughter house. They were not given enough rest, just used for one purpose; to be the meat of the war. They could be related to slaves, bound to their country by honour, but not given the glory promised by propaganda. Instead, being worked till death with no glory attached deal.